Fraggle Rock was a successful kid’s show that ran on HBO for four seasons to a total of 96 episodes. The new muppets performed tales of little fuzzy creatures that love to sing. For the fall of 1987, NBC brought it to Saturday morning in an animated form. They were hoping for a hit that could last like Henson’s Muppet Babies. On paper the concept of animating the Fraggles looked good. Unfortunately it only lasted one season on NBC’s Saturday morning schedule. Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series – The Complete Series has all 13 episodes that ran against Pee-Wee’s Playhouse.
The Fraggles are a fuzzy-headed lot that lives down in a hole beneath a garage. They’re slackers that love to sing, play and explore. Their theme song is “Dance your cares away. Down at Fraggle Rock!” These are not industrious creatures that are obsessed with a sweating the small stuff. They let all the heavy work get done by the Doozers.They’re a race of furry faced critters with hard hats and no visible eyes. The nemesis of both is Gorgs. They’re a small family of giants with huge faces. The series deals with how various cultures relate. This is kid show that’s primarily aimed at kids. The stories here are at the same level of the HBO series. However the big difference is in the presentation.
There’s more action without the logistical problem of how to hide the muppeteer’s hands. The creatures can freely move. They are able to express themselves better than the felt versions since their eyes aren’t merely pingpong balls. The backgrounds are more elaborate. “The Great Fraggle Freeze” has an action scene involving Gobo going down the rapids. They couldn’t do that on a Jim Henson soundstage. It’s a bit of an upgrade allowing the Fraggles to truly become independent characters. Normally the reverse is true when human actors get downgraded to be limited animation characters on a Saturday morning adaptation of their primetime hit.
Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series – The Complete Series is good for parents who prefer their kids watch DVDs instead of network news on Saturday morning TV. The stories about what it takes to be a society should teach how to be more cooperative. The only bad part is the kids will end up singing the Fraggle songs for the rest of the day. But they’re about as obnoxious as anything Hannah Montana belts out. Let the youngsters take a trip down to Fraggle Rock while you sleep late.
“A Growing Relationship/Where No Fraggle Has Gone Before,” “Big Trouble for a Little Fraggle/Necessity is the Fraggle of Invention,” “Gobo’s Song/Homebody Matt,” “Laundry Never Lies/What Boober’s Nose Knows.” “Mokey’s Flood of Creativity/What the Doozers Did,” “No Fraggle is an Island,” “Red’s Drippy Dilemma/The Funniest Joke in the Universe,” “The Best of the Best/Ambassador Gorg,” “The Great Fraggle Freeze,” “The Great Radish Round Up/Lucky Fargy,” “The Radish Fairy/Fraggle Babble,” “Wembley & the Bemble/A Fraggle for All Seasons” and “Wembley’s Trip to Outer Space/Fraggle Fool’s Day.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers are good although they seem mastered from a broadcast video source. There’s a little fuzz on the edges, but nothing distracting. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo. You’ll be able to hear all the Fraggle songs in both ears. The episodes are Closed Captioned.
Fraggle Rock: Animating the Adventure (8:07) brings up how Jim Henson developed the show to make kids understand world peace. Co-producer & conceptual designer Michael K. Frith talks about taking the show from muppets to paint. The show did get good ratings, but the network decided to take Saturday morning in a different direction.
Character Galleries gives the background on 9 of the Fraggles and their friends. This should help anyone who hasn’t seen the HBO series get up to speed.
Opening Sequence Storyboards shows how the scene was sketched out before they went to the paint.
Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series – The Complete Series takes Jim Henson’s muppet creation into the world of 2-D without coming off flat. It’s a cute and engaging series that should keep kids entertained that wondered what happened to the Fraggles after their four seasons on HBO.
Lionsgate presents Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series – The Complete Series. Starring: Michael Laskin, Robert Pualsen and Stu Rosen. Boxset Contents: 13 Episodes on 2 DVDs. Released on DVD: January 19, 2010. Available at Amazon.com.
Tags: Jim Henson, Muppets